One of the highlights of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this year was a panel that included the heads of some of the top universities in the United States including Harvard, Stanford, and MIT, and joining this prestigious group, a young 11 year old Pakistani girl. This 11 year old earned her seat on this esteemed panel as the result of her extraordinary performance in a Stanford University online educational program after competing with thousands of others from across the world. The panel had a rigorous discussion about online or in person education and the benefits to both.
Online or In Person
The debate as to whether virtual classroom education or face-to-face training is more effective is a hot topic among many educators. I too, am interested in this debate, since my company delivers web based and face-to-face leadership programs, and usually driven by the request of our clients. It is no surprise that the panel discussion created an interesting conversation and has many of us wonder about the benefits of face-to-face vs virtual education. Bill Gates predicts that online education will trump traditional education within the decade. He could very well be right.
Online is so Easy
I do lots of things online that I used to do in person, from shopping for shoes, paying bills, and playing games with my family, to name just a few. I almost give no thought to these processing these activities online, as they have become second nature to do in this way. I have to admit; I however, have trouble imagining online learning would become my “go to” preference for sustainable changes in behavior or development of certain skill sets. Can you imagine learning how to play golf, learn piano, or the art of managing high stakes conversations, or developing your leadership to the next level, online? I have to say, I can’t.
I’m still skeptical in spite of Bill Gates prediction, but I am open to the conversation. Email me, email@example.com or post on our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/visionquestconsulting if you have had an experience developing your leadership online that knocked your socks off. I’m specifically interested in increases in work related leadership, communication, impact, and sustainable behavior change experiences.
4 Critical Learning Components
Whether it’s online or face-to-face, the 4 critical components to learning anything are:
1.Relevancy. Is it relevant to you at this moment in time, so you can implement immediately or shortly?
2.Matches your learning style. Is it based in adult learning theory (assuming you are an adult!) to increase your deep understanding and therefore, learning?
3.Content is king. Is it rich in content with opportunities to practice each individual segment of skill development?
4.Measurement. What we measure will expand and grow. Can you measure and track your improvement and results?
I can’t argue with the fact that there is a distinct trend across the world of work becoming more virtual, as many of us prefer email over picking up the phone and Skype versus meeting face-to-face. However, I am leaning in the direction that some things are better and more effective done in person. This is a really big question with no clear cut answers for both educators and for those of us learning new things.
And maybe it’s not an “either or” answer, but instead, deciding when to use which learning tool to create the most effective results.
What do you think?